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Location: California

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Die Ende

With their trip nearly over, and despite being all in, pooped out, over whelmed, run through, over spent, over fed and (?) hung over, Danny and Peggy called up.

They had spent their last day putting 'finishing touches' on their visit to Zürich. As we had hoped, they stopped in at the Paradeplatz location of Sprüngli for a truffle. (Mit Kaffee? We may never know.) They also went southward to the Wollishofen neighborhood where Cousin Sophie once lived, undoubtedly passing the old Church where she worshiped. Nearby, on the lengthy stroll back to the heart of town, they passed the Rote Fabrik (a relatively quiet place in daytime, but WILD at night).

Now all packed and ready to leave for home, our travelers are sleeping over memories of Peggy's first trip to Europe.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Two Days Left

With only two days left before Sunday's trip back to Kalifornian, Peggy and Danny planned to be back in Zürich.

The city's best boutiques lie hidden along the narrow streets between the Bahnhofstrasse and the Limmat River. The fabled Bahnhofstrasse (photo) — famous because it's reputedly the most expensive street in the world — is dominated by large department stores and extravagantly priced jewelry.

At the south end of Bahnhofstrasse, in a square called Paradeplatz, shoppers can take a Kaffee mit Schokoladen at Sprüngli (photo), a Zurich institution that offers a variety of sweet and savory goodies including a wide variety of chocolates, from hand-made truffles to special chocolate bars. I recommend the Truffe du Jour, a chocolate truffle that is made daily from raw cream and is meant to be consumed immediately; or, the extraordinary Grand Cru Sauvage truffle, made from wild cacao beans from Bolivia.

Virtually every street in the center of town has some kind of antiques or collectibles shop. Especially intriguing are "modern antiques" shops, which carry odds and ends from decades past.

The antiquarian bookshops in the upper streets of the Niederdorf area are rich with discoveries—and most have selections of English books. More than souvineers, though, this neighborhood has just what the hungry tourist needs. Beside the always open Bratwurst Imbisstuben found in Niederdorf, we hope the kids will also try a true Swiss favorite, and one of mine. Röstli (a purely Swizerdeutsch word) is a potato pancake (grated potato, formed into a pancake then pan fried until crisp in butter) (photo). Hint: nearly always available at Schwann Restaurant, kids. Notice the sign in the photo above -- Bei uns ist jetzt ... R
östlizeit! -- Here it is now (always) Röstli time!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Swiss Sights and Tastes

What Switzerland may lack in overall size is more than made up for by it's sheer beauty. In this mostly mountainous country, one need travel but a short distance as the crow flies to experience an entirely new atmosphere.

The kids' visit to Northern Switzerland is providing them more than the chance to get away from the big city of Zürich. It's an opportunity so enjoy both a change of scenery and a change of foods.

Swiss specialties, especially breads, sausages and cheeses, differ in every village or canton. They are even named for their points of origin. Basler Brot, for instance, is a fragrant and heavy bread made in Basel. And, Americans are usually baffled because they cannot find Swiss cheese while visiting Switzerland. That, they learn, is a product of the U.S.A. But, the American product's taste and texture are based upon the Swiss item called Emmentaler Käse. Proudly called 'der König der Käse' (the King of Cheeses), this favorite gets its name from the Emmental, or the farming valley of the Emme River in west-central Switzerland.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stein am Rhein

On their way to Amei's home at Frauenfeld today, she and Rolf treated Peggy and Danny to a "roundabout tourist route" with some delightful Swiss sightseeing. Dan and I had mentioned earlier to Rolf our hope that Peggy could visit the old Castle of Hohenklingen, nestled in the hills above the town of Stein am Rhein, near Switzerland's wandering border with Germany.

From there, Peggy phoned home to share that the weather is warmish and delightful, and that she's a bit overwhelmed with what she's seeing. The first photo above (click on it) provides a panorama of Stein am Rhein. You can see the Castle in the background. Next shot is from high in the interior of the Castle - overlooking the town and the Rhein River. The third photo provides an idea of any street view in Stein am Rhein. These are shops near Rathausplatz (City Hall Square), the very center of town.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Second Day in Zürich

A short while ago, both Peggy and Danny phoned their respective homes to report on their activities. (Dan had tried to use the public computers at Jelmoli for webmail contact but was unsuccessful. So, he phoned instead.)

The two got in lots of shopping mingled with lots of sight-seeing today. They had lunch at BrunauPark, a shopping center in Western Zürich where I once worked for Migros Genossenschaft. Danny reports the place hasn't change a bit in the past 21 years.

Rolf and Amei had taken the kids out for dinner Monday evening, so Peggy and Danny are hosting them for Tuesday dining, somewhere in the Niederdorf district - a favorite eclectic haunt of ours.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Word from the Kids!

Peggy phoned Buck earlier to report they had reached their hotel, rested up, and were headed out for their first Zurich dinner ... presumably with Rolf.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

There, there. They're there!

American Airlines Flight 118
Departed: Los Angeles, California
Departure Time: 6:55 AM Gate: 42B
Arrived: New York, Kennedy
Arrival Time: 3:07 PM (Eastern Time) Gate: 6

Undoubtedly, Danny rushed through the terminal, searching some place for a smoke break. Just as undoubtedly, Peggy was stationed somewhere to  guard their carry-on.

American Airlines Flight 64
Departed: New York, Kennedy Late
Sched. Departure Time: 5:25 PM Gate: 37
Actual Departure Time: 6:17 PM (Eastern Time)
Arrived: Zurich, Switzerland
Arrival Time: 7:23 AM Gate: A49

Cousin Rolf is waiting for them, and will have them in sight shortly, after they collect baggage and clear customs.

Unless Peggy or Danny decide to phone, email or Skype, this is all we'll know until they return.

They're Off!

Peggy and Danny arrived at the LAX Travelodge about 8PM Saturday. After a long hassle of searching a non-existent elevator, they found their second-floor room, settled who would sleep where, and turned in for a short sleep. It would be necessary to rise at 3:30AM so Peggy could get her hair just so before boarding the shuttle to the terminal.

According to the online Flight Information page for American Airlines, their flight took off at 6:55, five minutes early. Estimated arrival time at JFK is 3:03PM, Eastern Time.